MarketPryce, a marketplace that connects brands and athletes, has raised a $3 million seed round as competition grows to meet new NIL opportunities.
Launched in 2021, MarketPryce is one of many startups targeting the 500,000 college athletes now able to profit from their likenesses. By one accounting, there are already 18 companies focused on fostering brand partnerships.
Analyzing the category, MarketPryce CEO Jason Bergman turned to the world of dating apps for a comparison. Tinder, Hinge and Bumble each might have different business models and features, but the most important factor is the connections they help users make. “We believe there are massive network effects for this new market, which should lead to a winner-take-most dynamic,” Bergman said in a statement. “We’re raising $3 million to make sure we are the company who comes out on top.”
MarketPryce currently boasts 1,300 athletes and over 300 brands on its platform. Bergman said many deals start with product seeding, though some athletes secure paid marketing deals within minutes of signing up. Athletes pay a monthly fee to access the marketplace, while brands pay a percentage fee for any agreements made using MarketPryce’s tools.
Before launching MarketPryce, Bergman worked at OpenSponsorship and built his own athlete marketing agency. Longterm, his vision includes serving creators outside of sports, but for now the company is focused on growing across colleges.
The funding, which comes from a private institutional investor group, will help MarketPryce double its size—currently seven employees—by the end of the year. Among other positions, the company is hoping to hire an NIL liaison to educate athletes and university employees.
Bergman understands why so many startups are racing to stake a claim among NIL marketplaces. “It’s not too often that you can invest in a space that has a historic shift in legislation that more than 10x’s a TAM overnight,” he said.